We have been hearing about Google Glass for years, swimming among the rumors of Apple glasses and with firm proposals such as OPPO Air Glass. Facebook does not want to be left out, but it has brought to the market a concept that is far removed from augmented reality and that futuristic halo. The Ray-Ban Stories are simply a pair of glasses with a camera, microphone and speakers, somewhat similar to the second generation Snapchat Spectacles, although much more discreet.
We have tested these glasses thoroughly for a few weeks, and we are clear about the uses that can be given to them, the possibilities that this type of device offers and the answer to whether or not it is worth buying these smart glasses.
Ray-Ban Stories data sheet
Ray ban stories
Dimensions and weight
Wayfarer: 41 x 50 x 150mm
Round: 45 x 48 x 150mm
Meteor: 45 x 51 x 155mm
2,592 x 1,994 pixels
1,184 x 1,184 pixels
30 clips of 30 seconds
Up to three days on a charge
IOS 13 onwards
Android 8.1 onwards
From 329 euros
A discreet and classic Ray-Ban
There are three Ray-Ban Stories models. The Round (rounded finish), Wayfarer (the classic ones we've tried) and the Meteor (classic cut without tinted lenses). They are sunglasses that can be graduated, designed for regular use. The crystals are polarized and we can choose the type of finish for them.
You have to look hard (or be very geek) to detect that these are not normal glasses
But what is most striking about the design is that, if we don't look closely, they are completely normal glasses. During these weeks of use, no one has realized that we had smart glasses, until we have shown the main points that give them away.
The side arms are thicker than normal, and the right side reveals a small shutter button.
The first is the side temples, somewhat thicker than usual. However, this might seem like a design decision in a pair of glasses, rather than a necessary evil to include hardware inside a pair of sunglasses. The second point to detect that they are 'smart' glasses is the fire button, located at the top of the right temple.
The recording LED is very discreet.
So much so that, as we are minimally away from someone, it will be impossible for them to know that we are recording. (LED on).
The only way to know if someone is recording us with these glasses is a tiny white LED that cannot be seen as soon as we move a little away from the person
It is something that we will appreciate only if we are close to the person who has the glasses, but as soon as the person moves away, it will be impossible to see an LED, with a size of just 1mm, in the distance.
It is also especially striking that the two cameras on the front are very discreet. If we get close enough we will notice that there is "something strange" (you have to be a bit of a nerd to think that these glasses have two cameras), but at medium distances they simply look like two ends of the glasses.
Inside, on their left pin, they have a small switch to turn the device off and on, on the opposite side we have another LED that indicates battery and connection status and, at the bottom, two small speakers.
Ray-Ban Stories box. A little bigger than usual.
In short, they are glasses that go unnoticed and that, unless someone looks closely, it is difficult for them to detect their purpose.
The process of pairing them
To pair these glasses with our phone (it must have iOS 13 or Android 8.1, at least) we have to download the Facebook View app. It is also mandatory to have a Facebook account, something especially annoying, although logical being a pair of glasses from the company.
After logging in, we will have to turn on the glasses, pair them via Bluetooth to the phone and configure the voice of the Facebook Assistant, which we will talk about later. At this time we will also choose whether to allow Facebook to store our voice interactions to "help better understand and respond to requests." We answered no.
We can also link Messenger (as long as we have the app installed) to send messages or call our contacts through the Facebook Assistant. Once everything is configured, a short tutorial will teach us how to use them. There are several translation errors in the iOS app (we have not found this problem in the Android app), but it is easy to understand how it works.
The Facebook View app
Basic editing (brightness, sharpness, saturation, warmth, crop)
There are multiple settings related to privacy. We can access the record of voice recordings, choose whether or not we want the data from the glasses to be stored, access the Facebook View data policy, etc. At the level of customization we can do little, beyond regulating the sound of the system and the brightness of the interior LED.
The Ray-Ban View as hands-free and headphones
Small speakers from the glasses.
At the sound level, the behavior is excellent with calls. We can use them as hands-free, with a fairly high volume and listening to our interlocutor relatively well. They don't do poorly in podcast playback either, but if we want to listen to music, the tiny speakers show their clear limitations. The volume is more than enough, but the quality is minimal.
They are not a replacement for headphones, but they are a great handsfree. Going with your glasses on, receiving a call and being able to answer it without the need for a mobile phone or headphones is a very favorable point.
Battery and charging
Small charging pin.
To charge them, we have to put them in their box, which takes about an hour and a half to fully charge them. This case works very similar to a TWS earphone, and has a USB-C port to power it.
Ray-Ban Stories, Xataka's opinion
The Ray-Ban Stories fulfill two clear purposes: to have a hands-free device when we don't want to wear connected headphones and, the most obvious, to record discreetly when we don't want to take out our mobile. As much emphasis as Facebook places on both user privacy and the privacy of the people we record, Ray-Ban Stories are the perfect device to record without consent, and the small front LED is not a powerful enough tool to avoid it.
Interestingly, the Ray-Ban Stories work better as a hands-free device than as a camera.
As a content creation tool, they do not finish fulfilling their function. The final quality is good, but the recording format is not good for social networks (it is curious that they are called 'Stories' and record in a completely opposite format to the 'Storie' format), and the limitations in recording time and battery handicaps are important.